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INDOT and IU Northwest work to improve pedestrian safety

Continuous improvements will provide safer crossing of Broadway for those traveling to and from campus


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Emily Banas
Office of Marketing & Communications
980-6536
ebanas@iun.edu

Charles Sheid
Office of Marketing & Communications
980-6802
ccsheid@iun.edu

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IU Northwest and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) have partnered to further enhance the safety of students, staff and faculty crossing State Road 53 (Broadway) traveling to and from campus between 33rd and 35th Avenues. 

Recent investigation of traffic and crossing patterns have revealed that, in some instances, students, faculty and staff are not consistently using the marked pedestrian crossing, and that many individuals seek the shortest route to cross the four-lane roadway between the parking lot and the main campus area.

The safety of IU Northwest’s campus community is of the upmost importance, and so IU Northwest has held additional discussions with INDOT regarding possible additional safety measures. IU Northwest had previously met with INDOT regarding pedestrian crossing safety on multiple occasions.

“INDOT appreciates the university bringing its additional concerns to our attention,” said Mike McPhillips, Deputy Commissioner for the LaPorte District of INDOT. “We take safety very seriously and our combined efforts will improve the overall pedestrian safety in this area.”

Future INDOT plans for campus crossing improvements include the installation of Light Emitting Diode (LED) signs at 34th Avenue and Broadway. INDOT recently received approval from the Federal Highway Administration to install this new type of sign to help alert drivers to the uncontrolled pedestrian crossings. The rectangular rapid flashing beacon will be installed on both sides of the pedestrian crossing for both directions of traffic.

“To ensure safety, we urge all pedestrians to use extreme caution when crossing Broadway,” said IU Northwest Police Chief Denson Chatfield. “In that same respect, future INDOT plans, like the installation of the LED signs, will also alert drivers and enhance the overall safety of Broadway for both pedestrians and motorists.”

IUNPD is dedicated to making the IU Northwest campus as safe as possible and has increased police enforcement along Broadway. Individuals who exceed the speed limit on Broadway (30 MPH) have been and will continue to be ticketed. A portable electronic sign will be installed on Broadway north of the crosswalks. This sign will display motorists’ speed to increase awareness of campus speed limits.

IU Northwest also recently installed temporary signs at the end of each crosswalk along Broadway, which will serve as reminders to pedestrians to cross the street with caution, and to use the crosswalks. The temporary signs will be replaced with permanent signs in the coming weeks.

“The ultimate goal to increase safety for our students, faculty and staff is to have them only cross Broadway at the marked pedestrian crossing,” Chatfield said. “It may take the pedestrian a few extra minutes to walk to the marked pedestrian crosswalk, but we believe those few extra minutes walking to a safer crossing point outweigh the potential consequences.”

Pedestrians should keep these helpful tips in mind when crossing Broadway:

  • Cross the street at marked crosswalks and intersections.
  • Stop and look every time before crossing the street.
  • Use pedestrian push buttons and obey “walk” and “don’t walk” signals.
  • Make eye contact with drivers to confirm they see you. Never assume they do, even with eye contact.

Drivers are also an important factor in improving safety for pedestrians and other motorists. INDOT reminds motorists to obey the posted speed limit of 30 MPH and to look for pedestrians crossing Broadway between 33rd and 35th Avenues.

Drivers need to:

  • Slow down and obey the posted speed limit.
  • Always look for pedestrians, especially when turning at an intersection with a traffic light.
  • Look for stopped vehicles; they could be stopping for pedestrians. Indiana law requires all vehicles to stop if approaching a vehicle from the rear that has stopped at a crosswalk for a pedestrian.

“Together, with the combined efforts of IUNPD, IU Northwest and INDOT, we feel the safety of our students, faculty and staff will be enhanced,” Chatfield said.

Discussions in early 2010 between INDOT and IU Northwest resulted in quick actions, and the following improvements were implemented by INDOT:

  • Striped a 12-foot pedestrian median on Broadway approximately 300 feet in between the intersections of 33rd and 35th Aves.
  • Restriped travel lanes between 33rd and 35th Aves.: 14-foot outside lanes and 12-foot inside passing lanes
  • Restriped left turn lanes at 33rd and 35th Ave. intersections on Broadway
  • Repainted existing crosswalks at 33rd and 35th Ave. intersections on Broadway
  • Repainted pedestrian crosswalks at existing overhead sign and flashers (at 34th)
  • Replaced missing 30 MPH speed limit advisory signs

IU Northwest has also worked on additional long-term solutions to enhance the safety of pedestrians crossing Broadway. The following actions have been taken by the university:

  • Erected a fence along the east side of Broadway (along the perimeter of the University’s parking lots) between 34th and 35th to help funnel people to the crosswalks
  • Enhanced patrol/enforcement along Broadway by IUNPD
  • Increased communication to the campus community regarding the importance of awareness while crossing Broadway
  • Provided additional parking options with the creation of the Park and Ride lot and the RedHawk Shuttle located at the Village Shopping Center

It is the responsibility of everyone on campus to promote traffic safety at IU Northwest. The IUNPD and the university appreciate the patience and cooperation of the campus community as they work to improve traffic safety for all students, faculty and staff.

For the latest news and information about INDOT, please visit www.in.gov/indot or www.trafficwise.IN.gov.